The Lost Slipper Page 7

And there’s nothing I can do about it. Stone’s the alpha, and he put me here. I had nowhere else to go, and no one ever came to claim me. Four years and nothing. Rare my ass. The irony is, now that I’m being claimed, I want to run. The thought makes me want to laugh, but I don’t because I know it will turn into a sob, and the last thing I need right now is to cry in front to Trish.

She stops at the end of the bed and places her hands on her trim, lean hips. I wonder where her other half, Tamara, is. She’s the better half, but that’s not saying much. They are twins but though don’t look exactly alike, it’s pretty darn close.

I wish I could say they were ugly with warts and terrible style with frizzy hair. I wish they looked like what you picture when you think of an evil stepsister, but they’re not. Far from it. They both are well over six feet tall and all legs. Thin waists and blonde hair that falls in silky waves. Trish has big blue eyes framed by long lashes, as does Tamara, but hers are a deep green. They both look flawless and are always dressed like they’re ready to walk in a fashion show. If only some of their beauty would rub off on me. Even just a little something would make a difference. Stone always noticed them and never pushed them away or avoided them. He seemed to be that way with most of the pack. Always listening when people had concerns and trying to do what was best for everyone. Not me. I could barely get a word out sometimes, and I was pretty much told to move along or go talk to Gwen if I needed something.

I have no idea what makes my stepsisters so bitter, but they’re great at hiding it in public. They still come off bratty, but not like the total bitches they are when we’re at home and no one is looking. Not that anyone notices when it comes to me. The twins seem to have it all, but looking at Trish staring down at me now, you’d think I kicked her puppy.

“You’re opening that store tomorrow. You didn’t even work today,” she continues, like I skipped out or played hooky. It was my day off from the bakery. Not only that, I’d gotten all my chores plus a few extra finished before I left for Gwen’s today. I’ve been working at the bakery with my two stepsisters for a few weeks now, and she acts as if I was being lazy.

Ruby owned the place and Gwen helped her run it, but since both are knocked up with mates shoved up their asses, they needed some help. I’d volunteered, wanting to make some money in hopes of moving out of here. Then my sisters did, too, when Gwen happened to mention the alpha would be ever so grateful.

I wish I could eye roll their eagerness, but I was just as eager. How quickly things change.

“I’m not scheduled tomorrow,” I remind her, sitting up. I have two days off in a row.

“I don’t give a fuck. I have a date tonight, and I still need to get ready. And you’ll need to go in early because I didn’t have time to do the prep work for tomorrow. Did you wash my red sweater? I put it on top of the dryer. You better have washed it separately. The color runs and needs to be dried on tumble or it can shrink. If it shrinks, you’re buying me a new one. I swear.”

“It’s hanging up in your closet and is perfectly fine,” I say, cutting off her barrage of questions, which was making my head pound. I don’t care, I’ll take it.

I’m dreading when they find out about Stone wanting me to be his mate. The twins were devastated when they came of age a month back and nothing happened. They had both been sure one of them would be the alpha’s mate. I felt such utter relief when they both came back in floods of tears after seeing him.

I thought one of them might be his mate. Many were shocked Stone hadn’t found his mate already, and I’d been dreading the day. Wait until everyone finds out it’s the bear. I so don’t want to go into town tomorrow.

“Don’t forget you’re working for us in the morning. Wouldn’t want to let the human down, would you?” Trish scrunches her face like the word human has a bad taste. No, I wouldn’t want to let a very pregnant Ruby down and stress her out when I could just go in.

“I’ll go in,” I say, just wanting her to get out of my room. I doubt prep work was the only thing she skipped. I bet the place is a freaking mess. I’ll have to wake up super early. It’s not like I had plans tonight anyway, besides maybe crying myself to sleep.

“Don’t forget the trash,” Trish throws over her shoulder as she leaves my room.

I stand up and make my way over to the small circular window that overlooks the backyard. I stand there for a few moments, just looking out beyond the trees and clearing my mind. After a short time passes, I get a funny feeling, like someone is watching me.

Something moves inside me, like fur rubbing up against me from the inside. I close my eyes to see if I can feel it again, hoping that something is there. Maybe she’s finally waking up, but it’s gone just as fast as it came.

4 Stone

“I figured this is where I could find you.”

I turn around to see Dominic behind me, the look on his face somewhere along the lines of pity.

“I just wanted to make sure she got home okay.” I stood at the ridge line of the woods, watching until Winnie walked into the house. As soon as the door was closed behind her, I did a perimeter check of the house to make sure it was safe.

At one point I thought I caught the scent of something else, but then the wind changed and I missed it. I was turning to leave when Dominic called my name, so whatever it was, I must have imagined.

Walking past him, I don’t say anything else. What can I say? My mate doesn’t want me. I’ve let her down by trying to protect her.

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